Power blinds us to our impact on others

The greater a persons’ power, the harder it is to empathise with others. For example, if you had grown up wealthy your whole life it might be harder for you to really understand what it’s like to live on the bread line, battling day to day just to make ends meet. And it’s no different in the work place. If you have spent a long time in a management role, it can be easy to forget what it’s like at the coalface, and what it actually takes to make the engines run on a daily basis. 

The power of your position can blind you to the experience others are having. Without the ability to step into another’s shoes, it’s all too easy to become insensitive to their needs and wants and all too possible to leave a wake of unrealistic expectations behind you. Leading becomes harder, influencing becomes harder and ultimately results are affected.

To increase your ability to take your teams perspective and empathise with them you need to lower your own power by paying more attention to what’s going on for them. This means asking more questions and acknowledging that you may not have access to the full story from your position of power. This is the quickest way to use your position of power wisely.

Coaching tips:
•    Know the affect of your power by asking others who report to you, how they experience your leadership.
•    Put yourself in your teams’ shoes to get an appreciation for what they’re really experiencing.
•    Assume that if you’re in charge, there will be some things that you can’t see properly due to your perspective. Call on others to bridge this gap.

As a professional People Whisperer, Anneli has been working with leaders and teams to improve their communication and interpersonal intelligence for almost a decade.
If you’d like to improve your interpersonal effectiveness and influence, or decode the behaviours’ of others, contact Anneli today.

w: www.anneliblundell.com       t: @AnneliBlundell

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